The old church in the village of Kingston near Swanage, with spectacular views of Corfe Castle, has sold for an ‘unprecented’ 38 percent above asking price.
The estate agent said it had advertised the partially converted property at offers over £700,000, but after attracting extraordinary interest, it eventually sold for just shy of a million pounds at £965,000.
The former church is now a family home
“Caught the imagination of buyers”
The old St James’s Church is a Grade ll listed building, erected in 1833 and replacing an older chapel.
It was no longer required as a place of worship after a much larger and grander church of the same name was built in a new location in Kingston by the Third Earl of Eldon in the 1870s.
The old church first became a village hall and then converted into a private residence in the 1970s.
The previous owners had lived in the property for about 40 years, and while initial adaptations had been completed, Trisha Ashby-Rudd from the estate agent Domvs said there was still ‘shed loads’ of work to be done.
“I think it really caught the imagination of buyers. You do get old churches and chapels that come onto the market every now and then but nothing on the scale of this. It’s just glorious and it could be magnificent.”
The staircase and upper floor from the kitchen
Vault of the Lords of Eldon
The church was converted into a dwelling by putting in a staircase and upper floor. It has a kitchen, dining room and three further reception rooms plus two double bedrooms on the first floor.
The property comes with just over half an acre of land and the original sealed off burial vault for the Lords of Eldon.
Forty years on the conversion is still a work in progress
“Still needs shed loads of work”
“It’s a house that’s been lived in by the same family for the last 40 years but during that time they had never quite managed to complete the conversion.
“The views are absolutely wonderful. If you stand by the front door you can see across not just to Corfe Castle but through to Poole Harbour beyond, and sideways you can see across to the Isle of Wight. It’s a family home but it still needs shed loads of work.”
The location near Kingston provides stunning views of Corfe Castle and beyond
Massive interest in the property
The estate agents had so much interest in the property that they had to be strict about viewings to ensure only those who were genuinely in a position to proceed were shown round, with viewings arranged over an intense three to four day period.
The property was first advertised for sale on Friday 29th April 2022 and less than a month later on Tuesday 24th May 2022 it was under offer and taken off the market.
The buyers are a family moving back to the area to be nearer to an older relative.
The site also affords views towards the Isle of Wight
“38 percent is just extraordinary”
“We can sometimes get sales that go ten or even 20 percent over the asking price but 38 percent is just extraordinary. It is the most we have ever had over the asking price. It’s quite incredible.”
The location is of course stunning and the building presents an opportunity to create something completely unique.
The property sold in under a month
“Not for the faint hearted”
“It’s not for the faint hearted. It had to be somebody who wanted a project and had already sold their place, so they were already in a position to buy.”
She said that generally the housing market has eased off in terms of price rises.
“People are realising that their properties have been put on at ridiculous prices and they are now being more realistic, but when something special comes up it shows you can still see something like this.”
Viewings had to be restricted
Market is generally cooling
A recent survey by mortgage lender Halifax suggests the housing market is cooling a bit. Prices still climbed in May 2022, up overall by 10.5 percent in the last year in the UK, but this represented the slowest growth rate of the year.
Growth in Dorset and the rest of the South West was higher than the national average at 14.5 percent.
The old church of St James has the potential to be ‘magnificent’